Zippity

Geez.

What just hit me?

Oh, it was just a week.

(Please, may the ground under Hillary Clinton open up and swallow her.. now.. before we have to endure her presidential campaign…. I should never blog with the nightly news on the TV)

Sorry for the random thought.

Easter.  Worked directing traffic all morning in the church parking lot.  Lots of people in Naperville, Illinois go to church on Easter.  Fixed my family famous cheese potato casserole (I’m no Gordon Ramsey).  Ate lots of ham.

Easter evening and first game of the 2015 MLB season — a glorious victory by the St. Louis Cardinals over the Chicago Chumps..er.. Cubs.  My recently returned Redbird chirped happily.  Nate and I took in the game together at the local Buffalo Wild Wings, I in my Cardinals jersey and Nate in his Ron Santo Cubs jersey.  Two fetching young brunette Cardinals fans were seated at the table next to us, decked out in lovely Cardinals jerseys.  Nate tried to ignore me as I talked to them, then gestured at him as I introduced him as my son to our pretty acquaintances.

“This is my son the Cubs fan.  Would you two ladies care to give him a reason to switch allegiance?”

Nate blushed crimson red as the two girls surrounded him with hugs and kissed him on the cheeks.  I do believe this may have been the first time my son has not complained about my tendency to talk to everyone that I meet.

I drove Alyssa back to college in Indiana on Monday.  I absolutely love the one on one attention I get during the car trips I have had with her.  Monday was no exception.  She insisted that I go with her to her favorite college coffee shop, a place called the Abbey in Marion, Indiana.  Her recommendation was the hand pour Ethiopian coffee, an excellent recommendation and my first hand pour.

Tuesday was my only day in the office all week, very hectic due to missing Monday and preparing for my trip to Georgia the rest of the week.

Wednesday started with a trip to the airport at 5 AM, then a flight to Atlanta.  I was picked up at the airport in Atlanta by an extremely chatty new sales rep.  My ears still hurt after being with her for three days, but she was fun and pleasant.  We spent all Thursday outside in the 90 degree Georgia heat working on some level transmitters my company had sold to a waste oil recovery plant.  Success but tedious.  I am not a technician but I liked the challenge.  Friday my gregarious host took me with her to a paper mill to meet customers.  Let’s hope she is ready to handle all the innuendo.  The guys at the mill were all over her!

I was pleasantly surprised to see a friend boarding my flight home, the father of a boy I coached on two of my youth baseball teams.  The company was nice.  My limo dropped me at home 30 minutes before I needed to be at a city volunteer appreciation dinner.  The dinner was nice.  Mir found a reason not to go with me.

This morning I watched Nate win all three of his tennis matches at his first tournament of the season.  He is the number one singles player on the JV team at his high school, won his first five matches this week.  He likely won’t be a state champion, but it is encouraging to see his confidence grow.

I wound down the week with a two hour mountain bike ride at my favorite trail system this afternoon.  The trails were in perfect shape.

OK.

No More Cowbell

DontFearTheReaper

All our times have come

Here, but now they’re gone

Seasons don’t fear the reaper

Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain

(We can be like they are)

I never leave the radio on.  I always have to turn all of the accessories off — fan, heat, seat heaters, etc. — before I shut my car down.  Wednesday night when I parked the car in the parking garage at the hospital, I left the radio on.

And when I started the car again, those ominous lyrics leapt out at me in the cab of my little VW, the 15 year old daughter of the man we had just visited sitting in the passenger seat.  Don’t fear the reaper.  If she noticed, she didn’t show it.  Amy chatted on without skipping a beat.

Death was on my mind, fresh from seeing the gaunt and uncomfortable figure of a friend in his hospital bed, weak and powerfully depressed from his last round of chemo therapy, facing radiation treatments this next week.  Chemo and bone marrow transplants a few months ago had seemingly scared the cancer (leukemia) away, but a few weeks ago the sickness had returned in force.  Anyone who has seen the devastation the treatments have on a person knows what it does to a person.  My friend looked like a corpse.  Worse than the physical trauma, his spirit was in agony.  That more than anything was the pain I hated to see.

“Sorry, Steve, I am just not good company right now.”

“It doesn’t matter, Ken.  Really I am just glad to see you again.”

That was the honest truth.  In some way I felt a bit selfish being there.  Ken would be weak, I knew, and not really wanting visitors.  If it were me, it would be difficult for me to devote the energy to entertaining a guest.  I suppose that is why I only spent 20 minutes or so of the three hours we were at the hospital visiting with Ken.  When it became clear that Ken was having a hard time keeping his eyes open, I asked him if he needed to rest.  He did.  His daughter and I left the room with the promise to be back later on in the evening.

Oddly, the evening was a relaxing evening.  Amy is good company, soft spoken but confident, happy to quietly work on a jigsaw puzzle with me in the family lounge down the hall from Ken’s 14th floor room.  The view of Chicago from the lounge was breathtaking, especially as the sun began to set and the lights brought the magic of the city out.  To the immediate west was the United Center, where the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks play, a brilliant display of each team logo facing us.  I like the windows in the tall buildings as their lights come on, Amy told me with awe.  In the past months, she has become a hospital veteran, graciously sharing with me the appreciation she had for the place.  Her comfort with the place was not what I expected, but maybe I should not have been surprised.  Amy has spent a lot of time since last May at Rush hospital.Jensen1

That Amy was comfortable accepting a ride with me to Chicago to see her dad seemed odd to Miriam, my wife.  Originally I was supposed to take Amy and her mother, but her mother had a hair appointment Wednesday night.  She asked if I would still take Amy — and I said I would.  We have been friends with their family since Amy was a toddler, when my daughter and Amy’s brother started kindergarten together.  Quiet Amy has always been friendly with me, especially since I always made an extra effort to tease the talk out of her.  Amy is serene and accepting, just like her father, something I appreciate about them both.

The girl has had to learn to accept help from people since her father became sick last year.  She is good at it, a gift of sorts, and I think she knows by now that gratitude is a given.  I didn’t feel like I was doing her a favor.  This was something we were doing together, both of us enjoying the time.  That may seem strange to say.jensen

“Is it OK if I go in to see your dad with you?”  I asked as I parked my car in the parking garage.  I didn’t want to intrude.  Besides, this was the first time I would have the chance to see Ken since he collapsed after the high school graduation ceremony for his son’s (and my daughter’s) class last May.  If he wasn’t planning on seeing me, he might be embarrassed.

“Of course.  Dad really wants to see you.”  Amy was very matter of fact.

Ken was asleep when Amy cracked the door open.  “Maybe we should let him sleep for a while.  He hasn’t been able to sleep lately.”  Amy whispered, tiptoed closer to make she he was sleeping soundly, came back and led me down the hall to the family lounge.

“Oh good, no one has touched the puzzle since I was here Sunday.”  She pulled two chairs to the table, patted the chair next to her for me to sit, smiled as she immediately began sorting through the puzzle pieces.  We would put together quite a bit of that puzzle during the evening visit.

After 45 minutes or so we went back to Ken’s room.  Amy wanted to wake him up.  He needed to eat.  The nurse came in with his dinner after Amy poked her father to wake him up.  They went through a lot of the formalities of father and daughter necessary — mail, the schedule for the rest of the week, family news, what was going on at school.  Ken was glad to see me, thanked me for bringing Amy, but he was in a lot of pain.  It was a lot of effort to talk.  Then came time for him to use the toilet (and he couldn’t get out of bed), a lot of moments of pain.  Ken told me how he felt, how tender his mouth and throat were, something real obvious as he took two bites of mashed potatoes and stopped.  There came a point where his tailbone was in a spot on the bed where it was excruciating to him, so I found a nurse to get another pillow for him and helped him get in a better position.

And then it came time to let him rest.  Amy and I went back to her puzzle.  She laughed as I joined in the trivia game with three women who were in the lounge with us.  More puzzle.

“Why don’t you go see if your dad is awake?  I’ll stay here this time.  He needs to see you.”  I think she was grateful for that offer, went down to see him, came back 20 minutes later for me.  Ken wanted to pray with me before Amy and I left for the evening.

I prayed with them, maybe the only time I was truly uncomfortable.  Praying with a friend isn’t bad at all.  Praying with a sick friend isn’t as easy.  I was suddenly very self conscious — aware of how inadequate I felt, sorry that my relationship with God right now isn’t all that good.  I looked at my sick friend, his hand cold in mine, bony and fragile in my grasp.  The thought of my own mortality selfishly came to mind.  My prayer felt as weak as the hand I held.

God remind me that you are in control of each moment.  Be with Ken, bring him relief and healing.  Bring your joy to him even during this time.

Not very good.  Short.  There is a reason why I will never be a pastor again.

Amy hugged her father as he sobbed, his emotional agony so evident.  We walked away with a good bye.  Amy was unfazed.  I was amazed.

And then the words came out of the radio.

Don’t fear the reaper…..

Don’t move and no one pees their pants

My unofficially assigned purpose as husband and father —

Remain calm even in the face of teen danger.

One parent almost always assumes that responsibility when their teen enters that frightening stage called learning to drive.  With a 15 year old son who just last week managed to obtain his learner’s permit, cool as a cucumber has become my sole objective.  Not only does Miriam acknowledge my ability to ride in the passenger’s seat without the aid of an adult diaper, Nate endorses me wholeheartedly, almost bows in my presence.  That in itself is bone chillingly eerie.

I earned my credentials a few years ago, when Alyssa (who turns 19 in a few days) was learning to drive.  She refused to get behind the wheel if her mother was within shouting distance of our vehicles.  The arm rests and passenger side dashboard of our family van bore deep and permanent indentations from the labor contraction-esque grip Miriam imposed on them as Alyssa shifted our car’s transmission into DRIVE.  Teaching Alyssa to drive immediately became my job.  Once Alyssa became comfortable behind the wheel, Mir was allowed entry into our vehicles, but only if bound and gagged.

I’m kidding.. sort of.

Alyssa learned well, a careful student who has always exercised good judgement behind the wheel.  Well, maybe not always.  I taught her to drive.  We both have a tendency towards a heavy accelerator foot.  My daughter is either really good at putting on a good poker face in front of me or else she has never been pulled over for any traffic violation, never has had a fender bender.  The girl has earned my confidence by exercising complete, mature responsibility behind the wheel.

I think I have already shared in previous blogs how much riding with my son behind the wheel makes my hair turn grey.

Last Thursday morning, I was privileged to witness this — 20150319_083118That’s the boy taking the written portion of the DMV exam.  His mother nervously texted me the entire time Nate and I were at the DMV.

Is he nervous? (not as much as you are)

What is he doing right now? (taking the test and picking his nose)

Do you think he will pass? (yes.. I think 16 two hour classes should have prepared him)

I am so nervous.  Do I need to call the school to let them know he will be late?  (I would never have guessed.. no, we are going to make it with a few minutes to spare)

He passed.  Missed one question on the test.

Now comes the hard part.  The kid wants to drive all of the time.  I got a good laugh the other evening on my way home from work.  About two blocks from my house, Nate and Miriam passed me going the opposite direction.  Nate had a huge grin, Mir was white as a ghost, her lips tight with fear.  Two minutes after I got home, so did they.  He’s driving with you from now on!

The boy actually had the nerve to ask to drive my six speed manual stick shift home last night — with Miriam in the back seat.  I didn’t bother to answer..  I couldn’t answer through my laughter.

Teaching a boy to drive is so much different than teaching a daughter.  It reminds me of the time when I coached Alyssa’s basketball team and Nate’s basketball team the same year.  The girls did everything their coaches asked, were distraught if they disappointed.  The boys were terriers with no care for what their coaches asked.. because they thought they already knew enough to play the game.   At least in my family, that is the difference in the way they drive.

I am remaining calm.  seriously… I am.

Catch

I miss the days when my son played baseball.  Nate is 15 now, his desire to play baseball finished when he was 13.  It’s not that he quit being a baseball fan, although even that waned for a bit.  He is a fan, if being a Cubs fan counts.  This afternoon I remembered what it was like to come home from work this time of year, my boy waiting for me every day in the driveway with our baseball mitts and a ball, ready for a game of catch.  Every day March through June, from the time he was 5 until 13.

That is what I miss.  Often we would throw a baseball to each other until it was too dark to see.  I taught him how to field a ground ball, the proper way to throw a four seam and a two seam fastball, and countless other little bits of baseball knowledge I had picked up over the years.  The last year Nate played competitive ball, I taught him two ways to throw a knuckleball and a change up.  We both grew strong from all the catch that we played.  At an early age, my son was able to take a hard throw from me, told me to throw it hard, able to catch my throws without flinching.  There was one day where he told me to throw him a real fast one, told me not to worry, and he panicked as the ball came at him head high.  The ball glanced off of his left cheek.  It scared me to death, but Nate dusted himself off, got up and told me to throw him another one.  I was so proud.

I hope he remembers those days the same way I do.

Pop.  Pop.  Pop.  Pop. Pop.

The sound of a baseball meeting glove leather is so satisfying.  I know my neighbors enjoyed hearing it, a few actually coming out with a chair to sit and watch us throw the ball to each other in the street.  Doug, an older man who lives a few doors down, shared his admiration for the attention that I gave to my son, reminiscing about his own days of playing catch with his sons.  J.C., my next door neighbor, came out one evening to hand us tickets for a Cubs game.  Watching us made them smile.

I have my chair ready for the front porch, ready for those days when I can watch someone else enjoying the same game of catch with their son or daughter.  There will be trips to watch my grandkids play ball, I hope.  With an almost 19 year old daughter who is learning to fall in love very quickly, that may not be all that far away.  Occasionally I even dream of donating my time to helping out with the local youth baseball association as a coach or administrator.  Who knows.

What I know is that the gospel of baseball is very important to me, the love of the game instilled in me from the day I was born.  My father’s parents were passionate about the game.  When I chose to run track in the Spring, something I had a gift for, they were very disappointed.  They never came to my track meets, even when I set the school record in the mile/1500 meters as a high school freshman or when  I qualified for the Illinois state track meet in the 800 meters (1:46 for those who want to know) and as anchor for my school’s 3200 meter relay.  But my grandparents came to almost all of my summer baseball games, sure that my defensive talents as an outfielder were outstanding, telling stories about catches I had made and throws until the day they died.  Grandpa and Grandma H lived a short walk from Lanphier park, where we watched countless baseball games, especially when the St. Louis Cardinals AAA team played there.  Satchel Paige had relatives in the area and was often in the stands at Lanphier, sat in front of us at one game and called my grandparents by their first name when he saw them (‘Hank’ and ‘Jessie’ sounded cool coming from him).  The hallway in their small bungalow was decorated with framed autographed pictures of Red Schoendiest, Dal Maxvill, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Mike Shannon, Stan Musial, Joaquin Andujar (who played AAA at Lanphier, along with Tommy Herr), Joe Torre, Ted Simmons, Orlando Cepeda.  They gave me albums of pictures they had taken at the ball parks they visited, players like Roberto Clemente, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose (no autograph), Cesar Geronimo, Kent Tekulve.  When my grandparents died and were shown at their memorial, they wore Cardinal hats and held Cardinal memorabilia.

My grandfather was the youngest of eight brothers, a farm family in Fancy Prairie, Illinois.  The farm house he was raised in was said to be on the county line for three counties — so one could be in three different counties depending on which room of the house they were in.  Grandpa loved to say that there were eight boys in the family so that they could field a family team for the Sunday afternoon baseball games, not so that there were plenty of hands to run their farm.

Baseball is in my blood.  I love it.  There is nothing like the feel of the leather as it leaves my finger tips or the sound as it meets the oiled leather pocket of a baseball glove.  When I played catch with my son, I felt like I was sharing a bit of myself each time I threw the ball to him.

I miss that.

Redbird Doesn’t Miss Me

Redbird was once my best friend, greeting me each day at my dismal work cubicle, a beacon of happiness as he chirped loudly around the office each morning after a St. Louis Cardinals win.  Cub fans despised my red friend in the same way that I adored him, anonymous death threats scribbled in angry letters on my notepad, even murder attempts.  More than once I rescued a barely breathing Redbird as he hung over my desk, a noose tight around his throat.

Then one sorrowful day almost two years ago, Redbird disappeared, kidnapped by desperate Cubs fans at the beginning of October.  I shuffled numbly around the office that day, unsure of how to find my tortured friend, waiting for a ransom note from his captors.  I only had one hint of what had happened to him, a savage scrawl in red across my desk top —

“You will never ever see your loud friend again!”

redbird studA week later, pictures of Redbird on a trolley car in San Francisco were sent to me, then at the Oakland A’s stadium.  Another week passed and Redbird was on a float in a parade in Minnesota, then with beauty queens at a county beauty pageant.  Toronto.  Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Brazil.  His captors had brainwashed his bird brain.  Redbird looked deliriously happy.

A year ago I lost my job.  I thought I would never hear from Redbird again.  But today, I saw pictures of Redbird on Facebook, frolicking with bikini clad babes, flirting with pretty tour guides, drinking, gambling.  Redbird is living the life I never had.redbirdvegasbikini

He’s a winner.  A product of a baseball culture that produces the best of the best.  Redbird knows how to celebrate, a veteran of many October celebrations.  I know now that he simply is a bird that has flown the nest, happy to have known me, the luckiest bird in the world.  I am happy for him.

I may never see him again.  And if I see him throwing confetti at Wrigley field this October…. I will kill him.

Splash

I am sulking right now.  I am trying to decide what kind of father I am.  At this very moment, I am upstairs doing what I wanted to start ninety minutes ago, which was write three blogs to wind down the weekend.  There have been all kinds of thoughts bouncing around in my head for days, one blog already half written, with no time to write.  Some times that would be a bad thing, but the last few days have been really good, days where the pieces of my marriage have felt like a few have come back together.  Believe me, that is a miracle.  Having no time to write was a good thing.

The last ninety minutes have been what has become typical for my family — the last dregs of a relaxing, peaceful, even healing weekend destroyed by dealing with a teenage son.  If he put the same energy into his schoolwork as he does fighting the responsibility of doing it, he would be an excellent student.  He is bright and intelligent, but won’t do the work.  Three C and four D grades on his Fall semester grade report show that.  So now I am pushing him, no longer taking his word that the necessary work is getting done, and he hates it.  Band is one of the easiest classes in school to get an A in, yet he has an F right now.  What have we been fighting with him to do for the last ninety minutes?  We have been trying to get him to do a 20 minute online sight reading assignment for band, plus another 10 minutes of practice to put into his practice log.

Finally, I said that this lack of caring has got to stop.  The boy looked at me, called me an idiot, then threw a full disposable plastic bottle of water at me.  Without thinking, I caught the bottle with my throwing hand and whipped it back at him, hitting him square in the forehead and covering him with cold water.  He then rushed at me to try to tackle me and I shoved him to the floor.  The kid is as tall as I am and outweighs me by ten pounds.  Then he grabbed the bottle of water, tried to throw what was left on my computer.

Something unusual happened.. instead of protecting Nate, Mir scolded Nate for calling his father an idiot and pulled him into our kitchen, away from me.  She told him I was only telling him something that he needed to hear, was not being mean to him, and he had no reason for what he had done.  It was then that I retreated upstairs.  After the kid tried to tackle me, I could feel that I was angry.  If he came at me again, he was going to get the back of my hand.  I think that was the first time ever that she did not make me the bad guy, supported me.

Mir and I have spent a lot of time together the past few days.  Since Wednesday, we have been car shopping.  Mir hates it.  I relish it, although I don’t like spending a lot of time looking.  But my wife needs time for a notion to sink in, just like it took time to sink in that our eleven year old 160,000 mile van needed to be replaced.  She has been driving it for her job since November, costing a fortune in fuel.  The engine has been making a lot of noise, a timing chain issue.  I have been suggesting she consider replacing the van for months.  Last weekend, she asked me to help her find a car.

2012 VW Passat, light blue, 9000 miles.  We now have two VWs in our stable.

2012 VW Passat, light blue, 9000 miles. We now have two VWs in our stable.

So I did.  We went to four dealers over the course of two days.  Friday, I went to another dealer, put a car on hold that I knew she would like and made an appointment for Saturday afternoon to look at the car together.  She loved it. We negotiated together, went home to discuss what to do, went back and bought the car.  Last night, we went out to dinner to celebrate.  The car is practical, not extravagant, just right.  Mir loves it.  And we did very well together buying it, had a good time.

Despite the fight, the good outweighs the bad…for once.  Might be a good sign.

Tuesday Confessional (or why spaghetti tastes so good)

Snapshot_20150310_1Before I begin writing today’s blog, I need to report that the guy who lives on the block behind my house was just using a hockey stick to sweep the sidewalk in front of his house.  Honestly, truly, I am not making that up.  Hockey fans are weird.

Speaking of weird, I must make a confession.  No, it’s not that, although after going more than ten years without a certain something that most married people experience at least once a week, there are times where even turning to the other side seems better than a cold shower.  No, it’s not that I am a Cubs fan.  I will never, ever, be tempted to go to the dark losing side.  My veins will always run red, as in winning Cardinal red.

This really isn’t that weird or even weird at all, unless you are my wife who indeed thinks that I am very weird for liking what I like.  What is it you say?  Spit it out?

I am a Walking Dead fan.

There.  I said it.

This week’s episode inspired me.  I will never eat spaghetti the same way again.  After the last two weeks, I am very creeped out by the place our heroes and heroines have landed — new Alexandria, where they have cleaned up and are being forced to live among the overly washed.  What I am truly afraid of is that a major character or characters is going to be killed off.  Who will it be?  Tough and vulnerable Daryl, who was just tamed by spaghetti?  Creepy Carol, who just bullied a potential young snitch who was threatening to rat on her, all in the name of cookies?  Hard a@@ed Michonne, whose soft side is beginning to show (and such a nice soft side it is)?  Rick (no way)?  Judith?  Carl?  Glenn?  Maggie?  Sasha?  I will cry myself to sleep should any one of those characters be relegated to worm food status.  Abraham and his girl friend can go, as well as Mister Mullet.

It’s just that important to me.

No, I will not seek professional help, even if a Star Wars or Star Trek fanatic gives me a good reference.

A Father’s Intuition

alyssa with calebThis kid must be a bit serious about my daughter.  It’s more difficult to gauge now, since this relationship is a college romance, not something that is happening under my roof.  So how do I know?  What is it about me that has a keen awareness of my daughter’s feelings, that can be so confident in the intentions her boyfriend has for her?

He sent me a friend request on Facebook.  Yep.  Must be serious.

And it’s interesting.  I live west of Chicago.  His family lives in southern Indiana, not too far from Cincinnati.  All I know about his family is the small bit of information that Alyssa has shared with me, plus what I was able to find out standing in line for three hours to get into a concert with him.  Now I have a way to ‘meet’ his family, seen through the Facebook window.  The picture I posted with this blog is one Alyssa posted on Facebook.. and it’s obvious from the comments his family have made that they approve highly.

So do I.  He is responsible, like my daughter, evidenced by his recent appointment as PA for his dorm next school year — his sophomore year.  Alyssa and Caleb are both music education majors, take classes together, study together.

And Alyssa is bringing him home for Easter.  Hmmmmm.

So much can happen in four years of college.  Who knows what will happen in those four years.  I guess there is always the risk that he will unfriend me….

Seize the Night

“Steve!  Come down stairs right now!”

Miriam was yelling at me from the foot of the stairs, anxiety making her voice quiver.  I could hear her mumbling to herself oh what do I do?  what do I do?  Oh my gosh, the quick shuffle of her feet told me she was pacing in confusion in our down stairs hall, likely the palm of her hand pressed against her forehead.  I rolled over, groggy and not quite awake, wondering if I was dreaming.  The clock on my nightstand said 2:00 AM.

“Hurry!”

“I’ll be right there.”  I replied quietly as I pulled a tee shirt over my head, the one I keep next to my bed, as I stumbled out of our upstairs bedroom, my own hand running through the hair on my temples in an effort to wake myself up.  Besides the shuffling of Miriam’s feet on the laminate in the downstairs hallway, I could hear something else, something that sounded out of place.

Nick, my faithful furry friend, was lying on his side in our hallway, convulsing in the throes of a seizure.  Miriam was in hysterics, murmuring oh my gosh, ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh as I bent over Nick, my hand on his side.  His body was hot and tense, his hindquarters twisted as each leg quivered and shook.  Bloody foam ran from the side of his mouth, eyes glassy, sides heaving as if Nick was struggling to breathe.  There was nothing that could be done, I knew, except wait it out.  I have never seen an animal experience a seizure, but I found my boss in a seizure twice.  Once I even had to crawl under a bathroom stall to rescue him as he had gone into seizure while on the toilet in the mens room, driven forward into the stall door and had cracked his head on the tile floor.  I went to get someone to call an ambulance, then pulled his pants up while waiting for the ambulance to come and kept people from coming into the restroom.  Both instances had told me that you could only wait out a seizure.DSC_0190

I handed Miriam her cell phone, led her to the stairs to sit down, asked her to look up what to do when a dog is having a seizure.  Giving her something to do helped calm her down.  I was calm, but I was scared.  I knew Nick had probably bitten his tongue but seeing his blood was still unsettling, his catatonia eerie.  All I could do was put my hand on him and wait.

The seizure was relatively short, probably five minutes.  What Mir could find on the internet was comforting, basically telling us that multiple seizures or long seizures were reason for concern.  Nick is a Shetland Sheepdog, a collie breed, and seizures are common for collie breeds.  We discussed taking him to an emergency vet, an expensive proposition, deciding we would wait to see how Nick reacted to the seizure.

As the convulsions stopped, Nick began trying to lift his head.  It looked like he was blind, had a bit of paralysis in his hindquarters as he seemed to only be able to move his front legs.  He struggled for a few minutes, eventually able to gain control of his back legs and stand up, then turned towards the wall behind him.  I winced as he walked straight into the wall, stood slowly back up then like a zombie dog began pacing.  He bumped into walls, chairs, got stuck in a corner.  We called to him but he didn’t respond, confused and disoriented.  For fifteen minutes, Nick paced steadily in a circuit through the downstairs hall, kitchen, dining room and living room.  There was nothing we could do but watch, wait, and hope.

Eventually Nick recovered his senses, came to me when I called his name, accepted a few pats on his head, paced a little more, then went to Mir for comfort.  I retrieved an old comforter, laid it on the floor in front of our couch.  Nick collapsed there, accepted my hugs as I laid down next to him.  I slept there for a while with him until the floor became too hard for me to stay asleep.

Nick was back to normal the next morning, dove into a snow drift when I let him out to the back yard.  Today, I became his mortal enemy as the bath torturer, a necessity after the ordeal from Friday night.  Nick hates baths, snaps at me as I pick him up to put him in the tub.  From the way he acted during his bath, he definitely is suffering no ill affects!

I love my beautiful and loving companion.  If he had died Friday night, I would have lost a faithful friend who never withholds affection, his constant cuddling and loyalty something I depend on.  Nick, outside of bath time, is a patient animal, a comfort.  When I lost my job, he was the companion who calmed me.  When I was home recovering from surgeries in 2013, he never left my side.  I was not ready to lose him last Friday night.

Now if the seizures had only made him lose his voice….

How many dogs do you know that are patient enough to read drivel like that?  Nick doesn't need glasses.  He just think they make him look smart.

How many dogs do you know that are patient enough to read drivel like that? Nick doesn’t need glasses. He just think they make him look smart.